Some birds, including great spotted cuckoos, lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, such as reed warblers. The warbler parents raise the unrelated chicks and provide them with food that would otherwise be given to their biological offspring. A researcher conducted an investigation to determine the type of relationship between warblers and cuckoos in an environment without predators. The researcher found that nests containing only warblers were more likely to be successful than nests containing warblers and cuckoos (data not shown).
A successful nest is defined as a nest where at least one chick becomes an adult warbler.
In some geographic areas, several species of nest predators are present. Researchers have found that cuckoo chicks, while in the nest, produce a smelly substance that deters nest predators. The substance does not remain in the nest if cuckoo chicks are removed. Figure 1 shows the probability that nests containing only warblers or containing both warblers and cuckoos will be successful in an environment with predators. In a follow-up experiment, the researchers added cuckoos to a nest that contained only warblers (group 1) and removed cuckoos from a nest containing warblers and cuckoos (group 2).
describe the symbiotic relationship that exists between the cuckoo and warbler in an environment without predators.
describe the symbiotic relationship that exists between the cuckoo and the warbler in the presence of predators.